Comics journalism: carrots, sticks, threats, and spankings

If you have an interest in comics journalism, you need to listen to this podcast. It was recorded at the 2008 Heroes Con in North Carolina. The panel was entitled, “Covering Comics: Criticism, Reportage, and Gossip“. It was moderated by Tom Spurgeon of the Comics Reporter. The panel was comprised of Johanna Draper Carlson (Comics Worth Reading), Matt Brady (Newsarama), Heidi MacDonald (The Beat), Tim Hodler (Comics Comics), and Carlton Hargro, editor of the local alt-weekly Creative Loafing.

After listening to the entire panel, I was impressed with Carlton Hargo and Johanna Draper Carlson. The rest of the people, not so much.

Ethics in comic journalism

By far the most interesting segment was when Newsarama’s Matt Brady spoke about repercussions from comic publishers. It’s at around the 20:00 mark if you want to jump ahead. He pointed to two stories that he believed put Newsarama on the map. He mentioned the Siegel/Superman stuff and the DC Comics/Wildstorm deal. He said there would be multiple hoops to jump through today. Also. there would be repercussions if those topics were covered today.

He pointed to two stories he believed put Newsarama on the map. He mentioned the Siegel/Superman stuff and the DC Comics/Wildstorm deal. He talked about multiple hoops to jump through and there would be “repercussions” if those topics were covered today.

Carrots, sticks, threats, and spankings

He then talked about “carrots and sticks” and “threats and spankings”. He went on to say that there have been many times where he has had to think about the long-term picture before breaking a story. He admitted that he sometimes worried about repercussions from the publishers if he (Newsarama) is the first to break certain stories. He said sometimes he had had to ask himself if it was more prudent to “hang back” and allow certain stories to break elsewhere — like a blog or a rumor column — and comment on the story then.

Wow.

I felt uncomfortable listening to it on my iPod. I cannot imagine sitting in the room and hearing it in person.